France postpones assisted dying bill until after papal stopover

France appears set to legalise assisted suicide but will delay the presentation of its new end-of-life bill until after Pope Francis visits Marseille on 22-23 September.

Originally planned for early this month, the bill is due to include “active aid to die”. Exact details have not yet been revealed, but the long debate about end-of-life care suggests this will allow people to help others end their lives.

Due to Church opposition to assisted death, the government deemed it better to delay revealing these details until after the Pope closes a meeting of bishops from the Mediterranean region in Marseille and celebrates a public Mass there.

Pressure to liberalise end-of-life care in France has mounted ever since Belgium and the Netherlands legalised assisted suicide in 2002.

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